Sarah MacDonald (musician)

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Sarah MacDonald
Born (1968-11-22) November 22, 1968 (age 51)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Alma mater Royal Conservatory of Music
Robinson College, Cambridge
OccupationOrganist and Conductor

Sarah MacDonald (born November 22, 1968) is a Canadian-born organist, conductor, and composer, living in the UK, and currently holds the positions of Fellow and Director of Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, [1] and Director of the girl choristers at Ely Cathedral. [2] She has been at Selwyn since 1999, and is the first woman to hold such a post in an Oxbridge Chapel. In 2018 Sarah was given the honorary award of Associate of the Royal School of Church Music (ARSCM).



MacDonald came to the United Kingdom from Canada in 1992 as Organ Scholar of Robinson College, Cambridge after studying piano, organ, and conducting at The Royal Conservatory of Music's Glenn Gould School in Toronto with Leon Fleisher, Marek Jablonski, [3] and John Tuttle. At Cambridge she read for a degree in Music, and studied the organ with David Sanger. Her early musical studies as a pianist took place at the Victoria Conservatory of Music on the west coast of British Columbia. [4]


MacDonald has played numerous recitals and conducted choirs throughout the UK, North America, the Middle East, New Zealand, and much of mainland Europe. She has made over 35 recordings, variously in the guises of pianist, organist, conductor, and producer, and currently works most frequently with Regent Records. [5] MacDonald is a winner of the Royal College of Organists' (RCO) coveted Limpus Prize, and has taught organ and conducting for Eton Choral Courses, Oundle for Organists, the Jennifer Bate Organ Academy, and courses run by the RCO. For its first ten years, she was a regular director of the Girl Chorister Course at St Thomas' Church Fifth Avenue, in New York City, [6] and she is currently in demand as a guest conductor of international RSCM residential courses (Charlotte NC 2016, Rhode Island 2017, Pacific Northwest 2018, Australia 2020). [7] MacDonald holds the Royal College of Organists' Fellowship Diploma (FRCO), is Examiner for the RCO and the Cambridge University Music Faculty, and also spent many years as a member of the Academic Board of the RCO and as a Trustee. [8] She is an Honorary Patron of the Herbert Howells Society and of the Society of Women Organists.

MacDonald is active as a composer, and has had works published by Encore Publications, [9] the Royal School of Church Music, [10] August Press, [11] and St James Music Press. [12] MacDonald also writes a popular monthly column for the American Guild of Organists' magazine 'The American Organist', called "UK Report".

In January 2020, the 'Sarah MacDonald Choral Series' with Selah Publishing [13] was launched.

Selected Discography

Selected publications

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  1. "Fellows - Selwyn College, Cambridge".
  2. "Music - Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir". Ely Cathedral. 2010-02-06. Archived from the original on 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
  3. Marek Jablonski | The Canadian Encyclopedia
  4. Encore Publications website
  5. "About - St. Thomas Choir School". Retrieved 2010-10-23.
  6. "About Us: Patrons & Officers". RCO. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
  7. Open thou our lips - Evensong music for upper voices | RSCM Music Direct
  8. St James Music Press website
  9. Composing and Recording News | John Hosking BMus(Hons), ARCO - Concert Organist Archived 2014-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Alan Bullard official website
  12. Performances 2013 | Philip Cooke official website
  13. Recording | Paul Spicer official website